Is Microsoft Turning Off the SilverLight ?

By  |  Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley has an interesting news tidbit: Microsoft seems to be downplaying the original goals for its Silverlight platform, which were to take on Adobe’s Flash as a pervasive plug-in for rich media applications. SilverLight is part of the toolset developers use to build Windows Phone 7 apps, and Microsoft says it’ll be useful for some other specialized applications. But when it comes to making Web sites fancier, the company seems to be turning its attention to HTML5 standards rather than its own proprietary creations.

SilverLight wasn’t without its attractions–waitaminnit, it’s probably premature to be referring to it in the past tense–but I suspect most third-party observers who aren’t developers with an investment in SilverLight will approve of the idea of Microsoft putting most of its eggs in the HTML5 basket. The Web’s going to be a better place once every browser supports all animation, video, and interactivity in the same fashion without the use of multiple plugins. And Internet Explorer 9’s serious HTML5 support is both better for consumers and better for Microsoft’s continuing relevance than any future version of SilverLight could be.


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5 Comments For This Post

  1. John Baxter Says:

    To me, Silverlight was a most welcome antidote to Flash and Adobe Air. (Although I abjured the first version out of fear of 1.0-ness.)

    But for the purposes for which that was true for me, HTML5 has been developed and is the obvious way to go.

  2. David Worthington Says:

    I don't think that this was a spare of the moment decision. I had a sit down with MS exec Brian Goldfarb early this year, and told him that I thought that Silverlight was a bridge technology until HTML 5 was ready. His response to that question was telling.

  3. Binkie Says:

    One of the wheels has just fallen off the Windows Phone 7 cart.

    It was supposed to allow web apps (written in Silverlight) to be portable to Windows Phone 7. That pathway has now collapsed.

    There are no mobile web browsers that can run Silverlight. Microsoft's own IE browser on WP7 cannot run Silverlight, Flash or HTML5. Considering that mobile is the future of the web, Microsoft does not even have an egg in the HTML5 basket, and there are recent quotes of Microsoft saying it has "no plans" to.

    This seriously impacts Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has forced all general app developers to use Silverlight. Its only advantage was going to be portability. Microsoft kept developers away from native code, causing much pain.

    Microsoft has yet again gone down the wrong path in mobile.

  4. Atle Iversen Says:

    The number of strategic errors Microsoft have made in recent years (post-Bill Gates) is astonishing !

    I work for a company that makes Windows software, and have wasted enough time on the Windows Mobile mess to stop developing for it a long time ago…now Windows Phone 7 comes along, starting from scratch, only allowing Silverlight development…and now it seems Silverlight is proving to be a dead end as well..

    I feel the pain Evernote went through, listening to Microsoft’s “cool aid”, re-writing Evernote Windows from scratch using .Net 3.5 and WPF. That didn’t work out so well, so now they’ve released a much better version, *again* re-writing it from scratch, but this time “back to basics” (C++, the same as us).

    Please Microsoft, get your act together !!!

  5. Josh Klint Says:

    Microsoft has to have a half-hearted attempt at everything any other company is doing. Windows XP and Office (before the ribbon) were the best things they ever did, but they abandoned or dramatically changed the products that were their own unique strengths.